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74-year-old man stabbed 7 times in Shadyside back up and walking thanks to help from neighbors

Community calls for justice after man stabbed in Shadyside
Community calls for justice after man stabbed in Shadyside 03:18

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — More than one month ago, a beloved man in Shadyside was stabbed and left for dead in a brutal attack. 

The 74-year-old man survived, and the community is rallying around him. 

For the better part of seven decades, Al Carlson has cut a solitaire figure, walking the sidewalks of Shadyside alone. But to his neighbors, he's always been part of the neighborhood and a comfort to see.   

"Even if they never talked to him, they knew him because he was a fixture," Virginia Flaherty of Shadyside said. 

Six weeks ago, police say one of those neighbors Carlson never knew suddenly attacked him to an inch of his life for no apparent reason. 

In a bizarre, brutal and unprovoked attack, police say the man stabbed Carlson in his neck, chest and stomach. He left him for dead and then returned to lift him up and throw him down a basement stairwell, police said.

In a stroke of good fortune, the people who live there arrived home and began applying tourniquets to Carlson. Meanwhile, neighbors nearby reported a man had broken into their house and was washing a bloody knife and shirt in their kitchen sink.  

Responding police arrested Jasper Hilliard, a 21-year-old from New Jersey who had been living in the neighborhood. EMS rushed Carlson into surgery in critical condition, and he would stay in the ICU for a week and another in the trauma unit.

Community rallies around man stabbed in Shadyside 03:08

The attack shocked the neighborhood and it responded. Much to Carlson's surprise, people he barely knew came to the hospital and have been caring for him ever since.

"I figured they were like neighbors," he said. "I didn't know they were these kinds of friends."

When police arrested the suspect, he mysteriously told them he attacked Carlson "out of convenience." He also told investigators he had been smoking synthetic marijuana. Neighbors say that's no defense.

"This was totally unprovoked, no reason," Carlson said.

It's unclear if Hilliard will cite the effects of the drug in his defense, but Carlson and his neighbors say it's no excuse.

"Why should Al have to pay for a bad reaction that he got to it? He should have thought about those bad reactions when he took it," Flaherty said.

Just days after the attack, with Carlson fighting for his life in the hospital, neighbors were shocked to see Hilliard back in the neighborhood. The magistrate set a $1 million bond, but Hilliard's family in New Jersey put up the required $100,000 in cash to get him out of jail.

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office appealed, and Judge Edward Borkowski revoked the bond, sending Hilliard back to jail. But Borkowski has since granted the family's request to have him await trial at their home. 

His attorney issued KDKA-TV a statement:

"Mr. Hilliard understands the concerns of the community due to these serious allegations and is abiding by the court-ordered treatment/safety plan at home in New Jersey, where he is addressing any mental health and substance abuse concerns."

"I feel he should be in jail in the county he committed the crime in," Carlson said.

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